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Lesley Judd
Born 20 December 1946 (1946-12-20) (age 63)
London
Years active 1972–1988
Spouse(s) Derek Fowlds (1974 – divorced 1978)
Terry Gabell (1979 – divorced)

Lesley Judd (born 20 December 1946, London, UK) is an English dancer and TV presenter, best known as a long-serving host of the BBC children's programme Blue Peter. She was educated at the independent Royal Ballet School. Brought in to the show when Valerie Singleton began to diversify her television career in 1971, Judd initially presented with Singleton, but mainly John Noakes and Peter Purves, a partnership that lasted until 1978 and remains the show's longest-running line-up. According to the book "Blue Peter" 50th Anniversary Book: The Story of Television's Longest-running Children's Programme", Judd's tenure on Blue Peter was often in doubt and she was retained for much of her seven years on the show on short term 3 month contracts. When her marriage broke down in 1975 and her ex-husband threatened to "tell all" to the tabloid press, Sally James was lined up to replace Judd on Blue Peter. Eventually, the storm blew over and Judd remained with the show.[1] Before Blue Peter, she had appeared as part of the dance troupe the Young Generation on several TV shows and also had small roles in the first Monty Python film, And Now For Something Completely Different (1971) and the filmed musical Half A Sixpence (1967). Judd made a brief return to dancing in 1976 when she joined Pan's People on Top Of The Pops for a one-off routine (The rehearsals were later shown on Blue Peter) and often danced on the BBC Christmas show "All Star Record Breakers". During her time on the show she was criticised in the UK press when she divorced her first husband, actor Derek Fowlds (former 'straight' man to TV Puppet Basil Brush), and married a Blue Peter cameraman Terry Gabell, whom she also later divorced. It was her second husband's multiple sclerosis that caused her to leave Blue Peter in 1979.

During her time on Blue Peter, Judd also presented the spin-off series Blue Peter Special Assignment. After leaving Blue Peter, Judd fronted a children's TV 'chat' show, In The Limelight With Lesley, on BBC1, much along the same lines as the earlier Val Meets... The VIPS. One of her guests was British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who was asked to comment on an earlier appearance in which Thatcher had said there would not be a woman Prime Minister in her (Thatcher's) lifetime. Another guest was reigning Miss World Gina Swainson. Judd then appeared with Billy Boyle on an ITV series for children, Dance Crazy, tracing the history of dance and was a regular panelist on game shows such as Punchlines. She later featured as 'The Mole' in the educational game show The Adventure Game, and was co-presenter of both the technology game show The Great Egg Race, the computer-related Micro Live (1983) and Pets In Particular (1986).

She was also one of the presenters of Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 from 1982 to 1988, and appeared as a television newsreader in the film Threads (1984). Judd was a presenter on the London radio station LBC during the late 1980s, later co-hosting with Steve Allen, at the same time presenting various programmes on TV for the Open University. In 1992, Judd also presented a daytime interview programme on UK Channel 4, Time To Talk. Each programme consisted of an interview with one celebrity guest. Valerie Singleton, David Kossoff, Diana Moran, Jonathon Porritt and Don Maclean were among the interviewees.

Now living in France near Toulouse, she is employed as a conference organiser. Although asked on several occasions to take part in Blue Peter reunions, Judd has often declined, feeling that her television career was no longer a part of her life. However, she appeared on Blue Peter's 35th birthday programme in 1993 and the 50th birthday commemorations. This entailed an appearance on ITV's This Morning, where she received a 'make over' ahead of joining other former presenters at Buckingham Palace at a party hosted by The Queen.[2] Judd then joined other former female presenters of the show in a photo shoot for the Mail on Sunday newspaper, celebrating fifty years of Blue Peter and was interviewed for a documentary about the show on BBC1.

References

  1. ^ "Blue Peter" 50th Anniversary Book: The Story of Television's Longest-running Children's Programme. Hamlyn ISBN 978-0600617938
  2. '^ Daily Mail coverage of Blue Peters 50th anniversary celebration
Preceded by
Valerie Singleton
Blue Peter Presenter No. 7
1972-79
Succeeded by
Tina Heath

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